Since he is too hurt to move, Don Quixote decides to pass the time by reciting passages from a book about a certain Marquis de Mantua. When a farmer from his village passes him, Quixote speaks to the man as though he were the Marquis himself. The farmer recognizes him and helps him back to their village. He tries to bring the hidalgo to his senses by pointing out that he is not any of those men from books but a farmer called Pedro Alonso, and the knight himself is Señor Quixana. Quixote replies that he can be any knight he likes, and all of them together, because his accomplishments will be greater than all others.
Friends and strangers consider Quixote insane because he does not recognize certain accepted truths. If many people look at a building and call it an inn, and one man looks at the building and calls it a castle, the man is considered insane. In a way, it is true than the building is an inn only because many people agree that it is an inn. But here Quixote begins to define truth as possibility, as something imagined and willed.
When it gets dark, the farmer takes Quixote back to his own house, where Quixote’s friends the priest and the barber are discussing the knight’s disappearance with his housekeeper and his niece. Both women blame books of chivalry for Don Quixote’s absence and both believe him to be a little mad. The farmer carries Quixote to his bed, where he tells the gathered company that he received his bruises while battling ten giants. Meanwhile, the farmer tells the concerned priest the full story.
The truth, for Quixote, is the world as it should be; and for him the world should be as it is in the chivalry books. From one perspective, it is true that Quixote received his bruises when he was pelted with stones at the inn. But, following Quixote’s aspirational sort of truth, his bruises should have come from valiant battle. The past has been rewritten in his imagination.